CIHR Team Grant : Indigenous Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative Cohort Research Study (I-HeLTI)

Well-being, Health and Biomedical Discovery


Academic Unit: inqurie with unit

Memorial Deadline: Friday 3rd, June 2022

External Deadline: Wednesday 8th, June 2022


Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are responsible for more than 60% of deaths globally, and 80% of NCD deaths occur in countries that have experienced rapid changes in population demographics (over 2 to 4 generations) and environments, including urbanization, lifestyle changes and changes in diet1. To address these issues, CIHR developed Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative (HeLTI), which follows a Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)2 approach. CIHR previously launched an International component of HeLTI in partnership with South Africa, China and India – countries that have experienced these rapid changes.

NCDs such as diabetes/obesity and conditions related to mental wellness are also a priority issue for Indigenous Peoples in Canada. CIHR has therefore launched an Indigenous component of HeLTI (I-HeLTI) to address similar issues faced by and specific to Indigenous Peoples in Canada. I-HeLTI is taking a DOHaD approach, supporting the development, implementation, testing and evaluation of Indigenous-focused early interventions (preconception, pregnancy, infancy and early childhood) designed to improve health outcomes in later life for Indigenous boys, girls, women, men, gender-diverse and Two-Spirit individuals in Canada. I-HeLTI will operate according to Indigenous self-governance and self-determination.

In 2019, three I-HeLTI research teams were funded to build the infrastructure and capacity needed to conduct an I-HeLTI Intervention Cohort Research Study. This funding opportunity will support the establishment of one I-HeLTI Intervention Cohort Research Study, as well as an I-HeLTI Collaborating Centre to support the activities of the cohort research study.

The I-HeLTI Collaborating Centre will support the governance and management of the I-HeLTI cohort. This may include developing relationships with the HeLTI Office, which supports a harmonized approach to data integrity and sharing among the four HeLTI cohorts (Canada, China, India and South Africa). The potential engagement of the HeLTI cohorts with the I-HeLTI cohort may promote value-added collaborations through a multifaceted, interdisciplinary approach to the research by spanning from basic science to Indigenous health research, which may position the overall initiative to have significant positive impacts on global health. There is no requirement that the I-HeLTI cohort will need to align or link with the other HeLTI cohorts. The degree of alignment — if any — will be determined by the Indigenous communities and organizations who are affiliated with the I-HeLTI Intervention Cohort Research Study.

The I-HeLTI Collaborating Centre will also support the I-HeLTI teams to develop and implement data management plans. These plans should describe, among other things, how data and (if applicable) biosamples will be collected, documented and stored. The collection of biosamples and genetic materials is not mandatory and is at the discretion of participating Indigenous communities according to their self-determination. Opportunities to share, link, integrate and harmonize data with other HeLTI Linked International Intervention Cohorts (LIICs) (for example, regarding evaluation of the common dataset variables that are being collected by the other four HeLTI cohorts in order to determine which of the variables are culturally appropriate and feasible for potential use in the I-HeLTI Intervention Cohort Research Study), could also be included if and when Indigenous Peoples make the decision to do so. A multicentre cohort collaboration could enable comparative analysis of interventions, harmonized data, assessment of biological mechanisms and biological-environmental interactions in different populations and the sharing of expertise. (Updated: 2021-04-20)

Eligibility to apply to this funding opportunity is limited to the three (3) CIHR-funded I-HeLTI research teams. It is expected that the three (3) research teams will collectively apply to this funding opportunity, collaborating to leverage the necessary expertise and resources to establish the I-HeLTI Intervention Cohort Research Study, and the I-HeLTI Collaborating Centre. If their application is successful, the three (3) I-HeLTI teams will have their initial baseline research funding renewed for an additional 6 years. This continued baseline funding will support their roles within the overall I-HeLTI cohort collaboration and sustain the I-HeLTI investment through long-term Indigenous community engagement and institutional commitments.

More information can be found here.

Funding Sources

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

This opportunity was posted by: RGCS

Last modified: April 14, 2022